The volume of agricultural production in January-April increased by 3% compared to the same period last year and, according to preliminary estimates of Rosstat, amounted to 1.39 trillion rubles. For comparison, in the first four months of 2022, growth was at the level of 6.6%.
The Statistical Office noted that by May 1, spring crops were sown on more than 8.4 million hectares against 5.2 million hectares a year earlier. The death of winter grains in agricultural organizations (without small business entities) amounted to 135.9 thousand hectares, or 2.4% of the area of their crops. Last year, the figure was lower - at the level of 8.8 thousand hectares, or 0.2% of crops. The production of livestock and poultry for slaughter in live weight in all farms in January-April increased by 2.8%, milk yield increased by 3.7%, egg production - by 3.5%.
In 2022, agricultural production increased by 10.2% in comparable prices, to RUB 8.85 trillion. Including the sector of crop production grew by 15.9%, livestock - by 2.4%. There are almost no chances to increase gross production in the agricultural sector this year due to the record high base of the previous year, Dmitry Rylko, director general of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR), believes. “It will be great if we stay at the same level,” he said. In 2022, the gross harvest of grains reached 157.7 million tons, oilseeds - 29 million tons. This year, according to the forecast of the Ministry of Agriculture, the grain harvest may reach 123 million tons, industry analysts expect collections at the level of 130 million tons.
“I believe that the volume of agricultural production this year will be lower than last year, and quite significantly,” says Alexander Korbut, an independent expert on the agricultural market. “Last year, the weather favored field crop production, as a result, a record harvest of grain, oilseeds, vegetables, and potatoes was obtained. The second reason that the volume of field crop production may be reduced is the process of technological rollback that has begun: simplification of technologies, difficulties with spare parts. The latter are now being solved, but the resource of equipment is being developed, and it is very difficult to buy a new one.”
According to Rylko, the main factor that will affect the crop production segment in the remaining months is the weather. Also, according to him, there are problems with the supply of spare parts and a number of agricultural machines, as well as with the provision of seeds. “And it is clear that these problems cannot be solved with lightning speed,” the expert emphasizes.
Livestock production will be more stable than crop production, Korbut believes. “Poultry and pig production are likely to show growth, which, however, cannot be said about beef. On the other hand, low prices for raw milk can lead to slaughter of livestock, then beef production will increase, but not for long,” he commented. Milk production in the country is growing mainly due to the expansion of its output by large producers, but the question is whether such dynamics can be maintained if there is no additional market, including export. “Now the exchange rate of the ruble against the dollar is at a favorable level for exporters of livestock products, but there are some sanctions and logistical restrictions that will hinder shipments to foreign markets. Let's hope that livestock breeders will be able to solve these difficulties, ”adds Korbut.
Rylko also draws attention to the fact that the high level of saturation of the domestic market and the absence of a visible breakthrough in exports will greatly affect the livestock industry - together these two factors will put pressure on product prices.